First off, Happy USA Mother's Day to all my fellow moms. :)
Today, my family granted me the pleasure of an afternoon of undisturbed reading time.
The sun streamed through the windows of our living room while I sat in a comfy rocking chair and enjoyed a warm drink and a book from the top of my stack. Hours passed. Periodically I would look up from the pages and spot children (mine included) blur past the front window on bikes, all of them enjoying the sunshine and 75 degree weather. (That's 75 fahrenheit for you lovely internationals).
And, because my husband decided to spend Sunday afternoon cleaning off his workbench in the garage, the inside of our house was blissfully quiet. Yay.
Reading makes me happy.
When I finished that book from the stack, I paused, pulled out my computer, and decided to give you a quick update on my most recent reads, titles I've finished within the last handful of months. So here they are:
The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships by Susanne Stabile
The Tatooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Two-Part Invention by Madeline L'Engle
Life After Life by Raymond Moody
Saved by the Light by Dannion Brinkley
Closer To the Light: Learning From the Near Death Experiences of Children by Dr. Melvin Morse
The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers
Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welsh
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (a re-read, enjoyed the second time maybe even more than the first)
The Finnish Way: Finding Courage, Wellness & Happiness Through the Power of Sisu by Katja Pantzar
Silence in the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge
The Mindset: My Journey from Janitor to Silicon Valley Millionaire in Five Years by Ace Bowers
Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time by Marcus J. Borg
Why I Believe in Life Beyond Death by Norman Vincent Peale
Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner
Have a lovely week, one and all.
Lots of Love,
To All My Writer Friends,
There’s nothing sexy about “taking care of business.” Last time I checked, “get ‘er done” was just that.
Doing the work. Finishing the work.
That’s it. The end.
It doesn’t feel magical. In fact … it sometimes feels hauntingly like … well, work.
Work holds magical moments.
And, as we press toward our destination, magic will show up at the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected places. It will materialize during the work itself—during that non-sexy, unending process of the journey.
So, go on.
Do the work.
Get ‘er done.
And while you trek, wait for the unexpected magic along the way.
You are on the journey.
On that note … back to writing. :)
Hi Reader Friends!
Many of you are
aggressively asking when Book 4 (the FINALE!!) of The Mod Code series will release.
Short answer: THE END OF THIS YEAR. (Dec. 2019)
I'm SORRY to keep you waiting! (However, I feel it incumbent to remind you: You guys consume—in, like, ONE DAY—what takes me months to write. So there's that.)
Rest assured: Book 4 is plotted. It's in progress.
So hold onto your hats, and re-read the earlier books while you wait.
I plan to pull everything I've got out of my writer toolbox. I hearby promise a climactic conclusion.
I sure am gonna miss these characters. Sage. Jack. Beckett. Finn. Imogen. I love them.
Kinda like I love you guys ... all my readers.
I'm grateful for you, too. Which I hope you know.
Hello Friends and Hello Fall!
I've been reading more again lately, after finishing the first draft of a novel late this summer.
I love to read. (But if you've been hanging around here for long, you know that much about me.)
Here's a list of my current reads ... I've been on a Holocaust memoirs kick in the last few weeks, ignited when I stumbled over the book "Night" by Elie Wiesel on my dad's coffee table (we visited family in Kansas a few weeks ago) and my brother asked me if I'd read it. When I said no, he highly recommended I do so.
So, with no further ado, here's my list of recent reads:
The Map of Heaven by Eben Alexander
The Light Between Us by Laura Lynne Jackson
Inside the Other Side by Concetta Bertoldi
Love Does by Bob Goff
Deep & Simple by Bill Lozoff (highly recommended by Mr. Rogers himself)
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport (this was right up my alley)
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Half Bad by Sally Green (finished only about half of this book)
Night by Elie Wiesel
Open Heart by Elie Wiesel
Outcry: Holocost Memoirs by Manny Steinberg
Auschwitz #34,207: The Joe Rubinstein Story by Nancy Sprowell Geise
Auschwitz Escape: The Klara Wizel Story by Danny Naten & R.J. Gifford
I hope your November has started off well. Happy Thanksgiving to you Americans. And Happy Year End to the rest of you. We all have much to be thankful for this season. I can't believe only a few months remain in 2018.
I'll be in touch again soon!
It's refreshing to realize that I actually REALLY, REALLY, REALLY love what I do.
As I've gotten older, I've come to deeply appreciate the day in, day out routine of work and family.
I enjoy beach vacations, of course. But I've learned something about myself: I'm more content sitting at my computer crafting stories than I am most anywhere else in the world.
This used to be a problem, because with such a focused work ethic, I often felt I lacked the ability to appreciate the little things in life—the things I took time to notice only on vacation.
But then, slowly, over the course of many years, I learned that such an appreciation doesn't come by traveling to a distant location. It comes from being present right where I am, no matter where that is.
I've learned I can enjoy the beautiful sunsets while sitting in the park across the street from my house, just as much as I enjoy the sunsets on the beach 1200 miles away. I've learned I can harness the peace that the sunset brings—that I can really absorb it and let it impact me, right outside my front door.
I can enjoy a deep conversation with a friend right in the middle of a crazy book deadline, or embrace dinner with my family at the end of the busiest day of the month.
I challenge myself to focus on PRESENCE, everywhere I go, no matter what I'm engaged in at that moment. When I do this, joy from the daily routine starts to feel hauntingly similar to that delicious "vacation" feeling.
Does this mean I'm growing up? Perhaps growing wiser?
If so, then I guess growing up is a beautiful thing.
If my computer had human eyes (don't make me think about that too long—I might come up with another book premise), then my computer would be sick of my face, because I have been staring at it.
A whole, whole lot.
This is what I look like to my computer:
Or, would a computer's eyes be color blind?
It doesn't matter.
I am deep in the cave of a writing project.
I probably need to get back to work.
If you're on my email list, then I sent you a picture several months ago—a hint about my current work in progress. (A delicious YA fantasy.)
So back at it!
Hope your summer is full of sunshine!
Snapshot of my reading list over last handful of months ...
What are you reading these days???
Happy Summer!!! Is it summer?!? How is it summer already???
Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
Louder than Words by Todd Henry
In the Name of Jesus by Henri J.M. Nouwen
Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
Leading from Within (an essay) by Parker Palmer
The Gift of Acabar by Og Mandino and Buddy Kaye
On Writing by Stephen King
A Guide to Confident Living by Norman Vincent Peale
The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins
How to Be Here by Rob Bell
Indian Boyhood by Charles "Ohiyesa" Eastman
Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander (an awesome reread for me)
What is the Bible? by Rob Bell
Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr
Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison
Quest for the Grail by Richard Rohr
Mrs. Perigrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Why Some Positive Thinkers Get Powerful Results by Norman Vincent Peale
Writing 21st Century Fiction by Donald Maass
A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay
Choose the Life You Want: The Mindful Way to Happiness by Tal Ben-Shahar
Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science by Mike McHargue
At a writer's retreat in TN this past week, I met a lovely English woman (who now lives in Texas), and her mum recently passed away. They held a funeral service for her mother, and it happened to be on this past Tuesday the 10th, the 4th anniversary of my own mother's passing.
All that to say, this lovely English lady emailed me a poem that was read at her mother's funeral, and I thought it was so, so good.
I thought some of you would appreciate it, if you have lost someone you love.
Let Us Be Contented, By Winston Churchill
Let us be contented with what has happened and be thankful for all that we have been spared.
Let us accept the natural order of things in which we move.
Let us reconcile ourselves to the mysterious rhythm of our destinies, such as they must be in this world of space and time.
Let us treasure our joys but not bewail our sorrows.
The glory of light cannot exist without its shadows.
Life is a whole, and good and ill must be accepted together.
The journey has been enjoyable and well worth making-----once.
This post is specifically for all you readers who are also writers.
Last week at a local writer's group of which I'm a part, we had the honor of welcoming Pamela Clements, mentor and publishing consultant, most recently a VP in publishing at Worthy Publishing Group in Franklin, TN. She spoke for two hours. We listened, asked questions, and pondered. She was direct, powerful, loving, kind, and very, very insightful.
Here are tidbits of wisdom, straight from her mouth. I type them here for you, but also for myself, to help me digest them all over again. So brace yourself. And get out your notepad and pen.
Let's dive in:
"Tell the truth. Your book has got to be authentic."
"Can you tell me what your book is about in seven words?"
"Books get ranked and placed in specific spots on the publisher's list for a million reasons. Sales, marketability, viability of author, if people will champion it, etc."
"Publishers hate it when there is no comp title. You must have comp titles."
"You just are who you are. You just are. You're just you. And God loves YOU. That's all. And that's everything."
"Good business makes for good ministry. Bad business makes for bad ministry."
"You want the editor or marketer to put your book down (after reading it the first time) and say to herself 'How can I make this work?' Meaning: 'I don't want to let this book go.'"
"If you have a book that is very specific, about a very specific need, but not a mass need ... if you have a book that an editor says to you 'This is a good book that somebody needs, but nobody's going to sign this book.' Then this is the perfect type of book for self-publishing. Because people can find your book online after you write it. And somebody searching for help/support for that specific [thing] needs to hear your story."
"Don't be focused on a particular format of delivering content that is no longer attached to your readers' needs."
"You don't have to chew all the flavor out of everything you put in your mouth."
In regards to over-committing yourself to ANYTHING: "You can just say no. No. It's a complete sentence."
"Steady sales are what's important to keep your book on the shelf at bookstores. Not massive sales, but definitely steady sales. That's what people are looking for when deciding not to remove your book from the shelf after six months."
"You need to sell YOU to the agent. Then you sell your book. Presence first. Get his/her attention."
"Agents and editors are friends. It's a powerful relationship."
"Am I proud of the books I represented through the years? Yes. But the biggest impact I know I've had is with other women in the industry. Speak life into other women. Women make a difference. Be the light. Take time to touch others while you're doing your work."
AND FINALLLY, MY PERSONAL FAVORITE, straight from the mouth of Mrs. Clements herself, her answer to questions about the ever-evolving industry of books and writing:
Thank you so much, Pamela, for coming to speak to us! Your words and wisdom touched us all!
Hey everyone! Only five days left!
The Mod Code is part of a group of books for sale at STORYBUNDLE.com.
You get YA books for sale in a bundle—and you set the price you're willing to pay.
Go here to learn more. https://storybundle.com/ya
Sale ends at midnight EST on March 15, 2018.